It was dark when fiery filly came down from the sky and landed in the Southern Pearl of the Dragon’s Lair. Wide-eyed she looked around at all the new exotic things and the different smells before being hailed by a sprite little monkey.“Over here…li li li….welcome to the Dragon’s Lair.”
After exiting the plane and hurrying along a corridor to the luggage area, I met with customs.
My passport was turned over and all the papers I had brought with me. Somehow, it’s always eaiser to leave the US than to actually get into your destination. People in the airport were staring at me, but I was tired and hardly noticed. After picking through my luggage and asking me some very lengthy questions in good cop, bad cop fashion, I was allowed to follow the line into the airport proper.
After wondering for a moment, I looked around and saw the sign. As I began to walk over to him, he became polite in hyperactive mode.
Good Evening, Miss Pauline. Welcome to China! Is this all your stuff? Quickly…
And before I knew what was happening, Eugene had grabbed my luggage cart as if he were a 5′ 7″ version of Superman and began flying with it toward the door.
Eugene was the official interpreter for my school and spoke English with a perfect Kiwi accent. He had just returned from spending 2 years in New Zealand in an English exchange program.
He hustled me through the bustle of the airport crowd and out to a taxi. After arguing with the driver for a few mintues, they agreed on price and my things were thrust into the trunk and we were put into the car.
Now driving in China seems to have only one rule…as long as you honk at an intersection and flash your lights, you have the right of way. So ripping through the dark we wove in and out of streets filled with people…people coming out of streets and buildings like stuff popping out from under the lid of an overstuffed box. I hung on until we arrived at the hotel.
Eugene talked with the proprietor and I was soon filling out paperwork (I was in country as a foreign worker so I essentially was living there with a green card – except it was white). I would have to fill in this paperwork everywhere I ‘resided’ while in the country.
So after arriving in my room, I was exhausted enough to sleep through the night. But not without the maid’s refresher course first. I was shown all the toiletries and such and then the thermos of boiled water was checked for freshness. Eugene was fussing over everything. He wanted it to be just right for me.
Then they left. I was on my own until morning and my first breakfast in Shanghai.
The monkey led the filly to a special barn for foreign guests. He chattered a lot and spent time fussing over the hay, the water, EVERYTHING. But soon, the door on the stall was closed and the monkey shooed the others away from the sleeping quarters of the filly.